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Arancina al Ragù by Sandro Pace

There is only one way to eat an arancina…in bites.

Sandro Pace, Cantunera


For the Rice

2.3 litres of water
500 grams of Arborio rice
500 grams of Carnaroli rice
200 grams of peeled and chopped celery, carrot and onion
100 grams of butter
100 grams extra virgin olive oil
50 grams grated caciocavallo cheese (pecorino or parmesan can substitute)
2 packets (1 gram) of saffron
35 grams of salt
35 gram vegetable cube

For the Ragù

200 gram of chopped onion, celery, carrot, parsley and basil
6 tbsp olive oil, for frying
500 grams minced beef (or veal)
A glass of red wine
500 ml passata (pureed strained uncooked tomatoes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
200 grams peas

For the Panatura (breading)

100 grams of water
60 grams of flour
A hearty handful of lightly toasted bread crumbs



In a large pan (5 litres) warm a generous amount of olive oil, then add the chopped onion, celery and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add water, salt and vegetable cube and add saffron. Bring to the boil. Add rice and lower the heat.  Stir it online once.  Reduce to a simmer for about 18 -20 minutes. Add butter and grated cheese. Lower the heat and stir.  Place cooked rice on tray, spread it out and let cool for about 30-45 minutes.


In separate pan, add olive oil and chopped vegetables. Gently fry until soft and translucent. Add meat and cook until browned. Add wine and increase heat. Once cooking, add passata, salt and pepper, reduce and simmer. After a half hour,  add peas and allow mixture  to cook until thick and rich.


In a bowl, mix up together flour and water to a thick and creamy paste.

Shape and Fry

Once ragu is ready and rice is cooled down, it’s time to make your arancina.  Take a generous handful of rice and shape into a bal. With your index finger, create a deep indent, fill it with ragu and then close into ball shape.   Coat your fingers with flour paste to lovingly cover the rice ball and then gently roll the coated arancina in the bread crumbs.

It’s time to deep fry.  Heat up peanut oil and submerge the arancini for 5 to 6 minutes, or a deep golden brown.  Eat with your hands.

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